We assessed the effect of a weight management programme on body weight, body mass index (BMI), and fitness in obese children and adolescents. The study was designed as a longitudinal, non-randomised, clinical experience of a 3 and 6 month combined dietary-behavioural-exercise intervention. A total of 177 obese children (age 6-16 years) participated in the 3 month programme, of whom 65 completed the 6 month intervention. A group of 25 age- and maturity-matched obese children who did not participate in the structured programme served as controls. Body weight, BMI, and fitness were evaluated at baseline, and after the 3 and 6 months intervention. Body weight and BMI were significantly reduced ( P<0.05), and endurance time significantly increased ( P<0.0005) following the 3 months intervention. Obese children who continued the programme for 6 months maintained the decrease in BMI and further improved endurance time. In contrast, obese children who did not participate in the structured programme gained weight, increased their BMI, and improved fitness less significantly. Gender, pubertal status, and the degree of obesity had no influence on BMI changes. Children without parental overweight had significantly greater decreases in BMI compared to children of obese parents.
Conclusion: a combined, structured multidisciplinary intervention for childhood obesity results in decreased body weight, decreased body mass index and improved fitness.